THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED ON THE OTTAWA CITIZEN SITE.
The NDP’s decision to channel donations to a left-wing think-tank in honour of Jack Layton through the party may run afoul of election finance rules.
The party insists it has done nothing wrong by accepting donations to the Broadbent Institute through its website and offering tax credits in return. Layton’s principal secretary Brad Lavigne said lawyers vetted the arrangement.
He says every penny donated to the party in Layton’s memory will go to the institute once it is incorporated.
Donations made through the “in memory” page of the NDP website actually go the party and therefore qualify for the tax credit.
But the Elections Act seems to expressly prohibit this kind of thing. The relevant section of the Act, provided by the agency today:
Prohibition – soliciting or accepting contribution
405.21 (1) No person or entity shall solicit or accept a contribution on behalf of a registered party, registered association or candidate if the person or entity made a representation to the contributor or potential contributor that part or all of the contribution would be transferred to a person or entity, other than the registered party or a candidate, leadership contestant or electoral district association.
Prohibition – collusion
(2) No person or entity shall collude with a person or entity for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition in subsection (1)
Were Elections Canada to receive a complaint about his process, it would be referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections (William Corbett of in-and-out fame, for it is he!) to investigate.
Of course, the agency won’t say whether Corbett is investigating or if they’ve received a complaint yet. If they haven’t, I’d guess there will be one within the hour of this blog post going up.